Taylor Swift begged by Spotify to return with 'we love you' playlist

The 'Shake It Off' singer is concerned that musicians are 'undervaluing their art'

Adam Sherwin
Monday 03 November 2014 16:10

Taylor Swift has removed her entire catalogue from the Spotify streaming service after arguing that musicians should not "undervalue their art" by letting fans listen to their songs for free.

Swift's new album 1989 is on course to sell more than 1.3m copies, breaking the record for the biggest-ever album weekly sales by a female artist.

Swift had withheld the album from Spotify and other streaming services, a move which helped maximise full-price CD and iTunes download sales.

But the star has now pulled her entire back catalogue off Spotify, a move which has annoyed fans who accused the country-pop singer of being "greedy".

Swift, 24, who announced a headline British Summer Time Hyde Park concert next June, had previously withheld her 2012 album Red from Spotify in the weeks after its release.

She criticised the streaming model - Spotify pays out an average of $0.007 per song play – in a Wall Street Journal article this year.

Spotify teased Swift, posting a playlist especially for her, and urged the singer to return. "We love Taylor Swift, and our more than 40 million users love her even more – nearly 16 million of them have played her songs in the last 30 days, and she's on over 19 million playlists," the post read.

"We hope she'll change her mind and join us in building a new music economy that works for everyone. We believe fans should be able to listen to music wherever and whenever they want, and that artists have an absolute right to be paid for their work and protected from piracy. That's why we pay nearly 70% of our revenue back to the music community."

Swift's withdrawal is likely to help her break Britney Spears' record 1.3m sales of her 2000 album, Oops! … I Did It Again. 1989 is on course for the largest US sales week for any album since 2002, when Eminem sold 1.322 million copies of The Eminem Show.

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Swift is one of the few artists to buck a global collapse in album sales since Britney Spears' heyday. The music industry is banking on streaming to replace full-price album sales, with Spotify having signed up more than 10 million paid subscribers and 40 million users.

But Swift's loyal fanbase was disappointed that they could no longer listen to her on Spotify. One tweeted: "Why is Taylor Swift removing all of her music from Spotify? It's not exactly hurting her album sales obviously...So greedy."

Others pointed out that her music could still be streamed on YouTube, which pays out less in royalties than Spotify, where unauthorised versions of an artists' music often competes with official videos.

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